Where Parenting and Coaching Intersect: Coaching a CrossFit Teen
Posting up next to a soccer pitch with a lawn chair and cooler of Gatorade is about as far as most parents have to go to support their kids’ athletic endeavors.
For teens competing at the CrossFit Games, however, parents often take on a more hands-on role, coaching their kids through the weekend and walking the delicate line between loving supporter and demanding coach.
Ben Beebe, father of 14-year-old competitor Rylee Beebe, had tears in his eyes watching his daughter cross the finish line nearly 20 seconds ahead of the rest of the field in Event 2. Beebe has coached Rylee mainly in their basement gym since she switched her focus from gymnastics to CrossFit when her gym closed due to COVID. She’s the youngest in the field, just 13-years-old when she competed in the Open this year, but her father was confident in her abilities in the legless rope climb workout.
- “There’s a lot of development that’s taken place (over the year Rylee has been training,)” Beebe admitted. “It’s an amazing feeling to see where she was a year ago, a skinny little girl, and growing up into a strong young lady.”
Of course, the Beebe duo has struggled to find the balance between family and hard work. Ben found CrossFit during his time in the military, and while he’s quick to jokingly admit that he’s not super good at it, he’s found a passion and shared it with his daughter.
- “There’s times when she’ll challenge me and I’ll say, ‘you can push a little harder,’ and she’ll come back and say ‘well, you’re not doing it!’” Beebe said. “There’ll also be times where she’s working hard and I see her hurting, and I want to tell her to stop, to shut it down, but on the coach side you want to see how far they can go.”
What’s more than one kid competing at the CrossFit Games? Two; and the teen division has been a host to a few sibling pairs over the years, and Rose Subiono, mother of 14-year-old Ka’eo and 16-year-old Elijah is learning firsthand what that stress can feel like.
- “My husband and I used to own a gym in Hawaii. It was our life, and that meant gym life for the kids, they grew up there,” Subiono explained. “They told us they wanted to compete when they were 10 or 11, and we’ve just done everything we can to prepare them.”
- She also expressed that supporting the boys has been a family effort, as well as leaning on another family with a teen competing from the same box. “We’ve been lucky to be able to latch onto (others) for support. And, my husband is very crazy, but he keeps the family steady and moving forward.”